The Fowler School of Law wrapped up its 2016-2017 Chapman Dialogue Lecture Series on Monday, April 17 with a special presentation by former United States Democratic Senator Russell Feingold. The presentation, “The Growing Threat to the Legitimacy of the U.S. Government,” was attended by a full house of Fowler School of Law and Chapman University students, faculty, and administrators, as well as members of the law school’s Board of Advisors and other special guests.
Feingold’s presentation opened with comments on the political climate following the 2016 election. “We can’t just get distracted by Donald Trump, because these things preceded Donald Trump and they will follow after Donald Trump,” he said.
He went on to outline his theory about challenges to the “four pillars of democracy,” which he asserted have been “brutally attacked” since 2010. Feingold identified these pillars as the right to vote, which has been impacted by voter ID laws and restrictions; campaign finance laws, which currently contradict the fundamental idea of “one person, one vote”; how presidents are elected, and specifically the Electoral College; and the Supreme Court of the United States, which, he opined, was undermined recently when former President Obama was prevented from filling a vacancy on the Court.
The presentation was followed by a lively Q&A session with Fowler School of Law Dean Matt Parlow and members of the audience. When asked how both sides of the political spectrum can move toward a common ground to create a helpful national dialogue, Feingold said the greatest power lies with voters. “I really believe this comes from the people and what they want,” Feingold said. “Through most of my political career what I’ve found is that people really like it when you work with the other side.”
Learn more about Feingold’s “four pillars of democracy” by watching the webcast here.